The latest American Pet Product Association survey found that 70% of households in the US own a pet. Of the 70%, 69.5 million households own a dog, according to a report on Bankrate. Having a dog is fulfilling, as they provide companionship. Not to mention the daily routine of taking care of your furry friend brings structure and purpose to daily life. However, keeping up with the health of your dog can be challenging.
As a dog owner, you want to make sure your furry friend stays healthy at all times. With that said, you need to invest a considerable amount of time learning about dog health issues, including the common causes of urinary issues in dogs. It’s also crucial to know the early symptoms of dog health problems, and how to prevent, and treat them. Keep reading to learn more about common dog health issues, prevention, and treatment tips.
Dental diseases are common in dogs
- Dental Issues
Like humans, dogs are prone to canine dental diseases, such as gingivitis and tartar. These common dog health problems or oral disorders are more common in younger dogs, those over three years old. Older dogs might experience serious periodontal diseases, like abscesses. Early signs of dental disease in dogs include reduced appetite, especially refusal to eat dry foods. Other symptoms are loose teeth, bad breath, discolored teeth and gums, drooling, lumps under the tongue and on the gums, and blood or pus discharge from the mouth.
One of the best ways to prevent dental diseases in dogs is oral care. As a general rule of thumb, brush your dog’s teeth every day using toothpaste for pets because it’s less harmful when swallowed. Dog treats and chews toys are also ideal for preventing or reducing plaque buildup. There are also dog foods and water additives that remove tartar or plaque. If your dog already has dental problems, there are several treatment options available. This includes tooth extraction, and teeth cleaning, and sometimes your vet will recommend a root canal. Whatever dent treatment option your dog needs, make sure it’s administered by an experienced veterinarian.
Vets check an ear infection
- Ear Infections
Ear infections are common in dogs, especially those with large, pendulous ears. Typically, dogs that have ear infections scratch and paw at their ears, shake their head, or rub their ears against furniture and the floor. However, your dog might experience severe ear infection symptoms like crusts or scabs around the ear, hearing loss, redness in the ear canal, balance problems, and hair loss around the ears. It’s also worth noting recurring ear problems indicate allergies caused by wheat, soy, and corn in their food.
To treat ear infections in dogs, vets recommend cleaning and drying the ears. Your dog will require sedation if he’s in pain. Your vet will also examine the type of ear infection your furry friend may have. Once the vet diagnoses the ear infection affecting your dog’s well-being, they’ll likely recommend a topical antifungal or antibacterial treatment.
External parasites in dog skin
- Skin Disease
It’s natural for dogs to scratch, but if your dog keeps scratching, that’s a sign of an underlying skin condition. If you’re like many pet parents, you’re probably thinking about the causes of skin diseases in dogs. Food allergies are the primary culprits of itchy skin in dogs. Allergens like soy, corn, and wheat present in dog foods trigger skin infections that make your dog itch frequently. To prevent skin irritation and soreness caused by food allergies, consider feeding your dog low-allergen foods like rice and lamb. If changing your dog’s diet doesn’t relieve skin itchiness, visit a vet.
Another reason your dog has itchy skin is bacterial and yeast infection that often leads to serious problems like hot spots. Hot spots cause painful sores, especially in dogs with thick fur. Dog infection symptoms such as external parasites like fleas, mites, and ticks are other culprits that make your dog’s skin itch. Itchy spots linked to flea bites can be commonly found on a dog’s stomach, at the base of the tail, and inner thighs. Signs of skin infections range from flaky skin to red bumps, scabies, bald patches, and red spots. Depending on the skin infection, your vet will suggest a simple solution like medicated shampoo or antibacterial ointment for serious conditions.
Skin irritation caused by mites and fleas can cause sarcoptic mange or scabies and require effective treatment for that specific parasite. For example, if your dog is itching because of flea infestation, a vet will recommend preventative medication for fleas. Besides medication, there are other simple ways to protect your dog from pests. For starters, make it a habit to keep the yard well maintained and change your dog’s bedding regularly to prevent fleas and other parasites from laying and hatching eggs there. Also, hire the services of pet groomers, professional house cleaners, and home pest control technicians to keep pests at bay.
- Vomiting and Diarrhea
Common dog health issues in dogs include digestive problems that go away after a few days. But, if your furry friend keeps vomiting or has diarrhea too often or both conditions seem to occur together regularly, then you should consult your veterinarian immediately. Frequent vomiting and diarrhea in dogs is a signs of a serious health problem that needs effective treatment.
Viruses like parvovirus, intestinal parasites, poison, and sudden change in diets are reasons dogs vomit and have diarrhea. Your dog can also start vomiting after swallowing objects that cause obstruction in the stomach or intestines, medication side effects, chronic disorders like pancreatitis, change of environment, and eating inappropriate food. One way to prevent vomiting and diarrhea in dogs is by introducing dietary changes slowly and avoiding feeding your furry animal salty, fatty, and spicy foods.
Unless there’s blood in the vomit or diarrhea, you can treat your dog at home by following simple steps like withholding food for at least 12 hours or up to 24 hours. However, avoid starving puppies and small dogs as they might develop low blood sugar levels. Offering a bland diet, such as lean hamburger, boiled potatoes or rice with cooked chicken breasts can help treat vomiting and diarrhea affecting your furry animal. Also, deworm young dogs as they’re susceptible to roundworms and tapeworms, and prioritize vaccination against parvovirus and other viruses that affect your dog’s digestive system.
Arthritis this disease affects the legs, back, hips, and elbow
The Arthritis Foundation reveals that one in five dogs has canine arthritis. Older dogs are at high risk than younger ones. So, if you have an older dog who is slow in movement and has a difficult time walking up and down the stairs, it’s likely that they may have arthritis. This disease affects the legs, back, hips, and elbow, causing discomfort, stiffness, and pain. If your furry friend is diagnosed with arthritis, it means there’s damage in the cartilage within the hip, elbow, or another joint.
As a result, the cartilage becomes less lubricated or smooth, making bones in the joints rub against each other. The rubbing causes not only more damage to the cartilage but also causes pain and discomfort. Typical symptoms of arthritis in older pups include slow movements, reluctance to physical activities, stiffness or lameness after long hours of rest, grumpiness, and licking at joints.
While arthritis is more common in older dogs, it can develop in younger ones because of problems linked to improper bone and joint development. Other causes of canine arthritis are joint instability because of ligament damage, fractures, and abnormal or damage to joint development. Like with other dog health issues, there are several treatment options for dog arthritis. The first step to managing canine arthritis is providing a proper diet and exercise. For arthritic dogs, weight management is essential to prevent strain and pain in the joints and body. You can also opt for physical and alternative therapy, CBD oil, and medications to treat arthritis.
Obesity in dogs is the most common & preventable disease
Obesity is the most common and preventable disease in dogs. According to a report shared by VCA Hospitals, about 25-30% of the canine population is obese, with 45% of dogs aged 5-11 years weighing more than the normal weight. Obesity in dogs increases health risks, such as cancer, osteoarthritis, heart disease, urinary bladder stones, and hypertension. In addition to health risks, excess weight reduces the lifespan of dogs. For example, obesity reduces the lifespan of Labrador Retrievers by approximately two years compared to leaner breeds. Excess weight in dogs can also be a sign of an underlying health condition like hypothyroidism.
One way to tell if your dog needs to lose some weight is by running your hands over its ribcage. This trick works for furrier dog breeds, as it’s difficult to see their ribs. If you can’t feel your pet’s ribs, it’s a clear sign of obesity. Providing a high-quality diet is the best way to prevent or treat obesity in dogs. It’s also crucial to ensure your furry friend gets exercise regularly.
For many people, having a dog is fulfilling. After all, furry animals provide friendship and bring purpose into one’s life. However, to ensure your dog stays healthy and provides the best companionship, you need to understand the common health issues that affect them, and how to prevent, and treat them. Common dog issues include itching and skin disease, dental problems, obesity, arthritis, vomiting and diarrhea, and ear infections. There are home remedies for each health problem in dogs, but it’s always wise to consult a vet if a condition becomes persistent.